Excessive saliva can be caused by either an increase in your body's production of saliva or a decrease in your ability to swallow or keep saliva in your mouth.
Causes of increased saliva production
- Dentures that are new or don't fit well
- GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Infection in your mouth or throat
- Medications, such as clonazepam (Klonopin), clozapine (Clozaril, Fazaclo ODT), pilocarpine (Salagen) and carbidopa-levodopa (Parcopa, Sinemet)
- Stomatitis (an inflammation of mucous membranes in your mouth)
Rarer causes of increased saliva production include:
- Arsenic poisoning
- Bell's palsy (a condition that causes facial muscle weakness or paralysis)
- Esophageal atresia (a disorder present at birth in which the esophagus doesn't develop properly)
- Mercury poisoning
- Rabies (a deadly virus spread to people from the saliva of infected animals)
- Syphilis (a bacterial infection usually spread by sexual contact)
- Tuberculosis (an infectious disease that affects your lungs)
Causes of a decreased ability to swallow or to retain saliva in your mouth
- Acute sinusitis
- Chronic sinusitis
- Enlarged adenoids
- Tumors that affect your tongue or lip movement
Conditions that affect your muscle coordination or the function of your oral cavity also may decrease your ability to swallow or to retain saliva in your mouth. These conditions include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a neurological disease that causes muscle weakness)
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Cerebral palsy (a disorder that affects your ability to coordinate body movements)
- Down syndrome
- Fragile X syndrome (a form of inherited mental retardation)
- Multiple sclerosis (a disease in which your body's immune system attacks the sheath that covers your nerves)
- Myasthenia gravis (a muscle weakness disorder)
- Parkinson's disease
Jan. 11, 2012
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
- Young CA, et al. Treatment for sialorrhea (excessive saliva) in people with motor neuron disease/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2011;CD006981. http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews. Accessed Sept. 7, 2011.
- The head and neck. In: LeBlond RF, et al. DeGowin's Diagnostic Examination. 9th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3661165&searchStr=sialorrhea#3661165. Accessed Oct. 7, 2011.
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- Langmore SE, et al. Disorders of swallowing: Palliative care. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. 2009;42:87.
- Fairhurst CB, et al. Management of drooling in children. Archives of Disease in Childhood - Practice and Education Edition. 2011;96:25.
- Praharaj SK, et al. Amisulpride improved debilitating clozapine-induced sialorrhea. American Journal of Therapeutics. 2011;18:e84.
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- Maheshwari A, et al. Digestive system disorders. In: Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0755-7..00096-8&isbn=978-1-4377-0755-7&sid=1217922271&uniqId=286401642-5#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0755-7..00096-8--s0015. Accessed Oct. 8, 2011.
- Khan WU, et al. Botulinum toxin A for treatment of sialorrhea in children. Archives of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. 2011;137:339.
- Parkinson's disease - Nonpharmacologic treatments. Worldwide Education and Awareness for Movement Disorders. http://www.wemove.org/par/par_nphm.html. Accessed Oct. 8, 2011.
- Anderson CF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 20, 2011.